Approximately 7.5 million people in the United States have psoriasis, as their immune systems mistakenly target healthy cells in an autoimmune response. A February 25, 2011 article on Mayoclinic.com explained the goals of psoriasis treatment.
Inflammation and formation of plaque needs to be reduced by breaking the cycle of excessive skin cell production. Scales need to be removed and skin needs to be made smooth.
Topical treatments (creams and ointments applied to the skin) can benefit mild to moderate cases of psoriasis. One form of topical treatment is the application of vitamin D analogues, or synthetic forms of vitamin D. This can slow the growth of skin cells.
In more extreme cases of psoriasis, topical treatments may be combined with another treatment such as light therapy, also known as phototherapy. The affected skin is exposed to controlled amounts of natural or artificial ultraviolet light.
Natural sunlight in small amounts may bring improvement. Care must be taken not to overdo it, because the psoriasis may worsen and other skin damage can occur.
UVB phototherapy, which is also called broadband UVB, may benefit mild to moderate psoriasis. It can treat patches or widespread psoriasis. It may be effective where some topical treatments fail.
A newer narrowband UVB therapy may be more effective yet. Treatment is administered two to three times a week. Upon improvement, sessions drop to once a week. This treatment must be done with care to prevent significant burning of the skin.
A May 12, 2011 article on Medicine.net reported on research from the Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich, Germany. Treatments like ultraviolet light therapy and vitamin D creams may help bind the peptide cathelicidin to DNA. This may reduce the inflammatory response that otherwise may trigger psoriasis symptoms.
Henry Lim, MD, is chief of dermatology at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital. Lim said that UBV light therapy can benefit about 70 percent of psoriasis patients. He said that vitamin D creams can benefit 50 to 60 percent of patients with mild symptoms.
Lim advocated clinic use of light therapy as being a safer alternative than exposure to the sun's rays. The findings did not support the use of vitamin D supplements for psoriasis symptoms.
The study was published in the May 11, 2011 edition of Science Translational Medicine.
The article "Diet and Psoriasis: Experimental Data and Clinical Evidence: Vitamin D3 and Analogues" on Medscape.com differs on the score of oral vitamin D supplementation, saying this may be useful for psoriasis patients. The article cautions against supplementation if a patient is using topical vitamin D analogues, as taking both treatments may cause hypercalcaemia (elevated level of calcium in the blood).
The August, 2010 edition of the Archives of Dermatology also recommended UVB light therapy for relief of psoriasis. Scientists from St. Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland learned that narrowband UVB rays can increase serum levels of vitamin D during the winter when sun exposure is limited. Researchers speculated that a high enough amount of UVB light therapy may clear up psoriasis symptoms.
Patients were treated with UVB light three times a week. Levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (considered the most accurate measurement of vitamin D levels) increased markedly from the light treatment.
Psoriasis: Treatments and drugs. Mayoclinic.com. Web. August 13, 2011.
Vitamin D Treatments Target Psoriasis. MedicineNet.com. Web. August 13, 2011.
Diet and Psoriasis: Experimental Data and Clinical Evidence: Vitamin D3 and Analogues. Medscape.com. Web. August 13, 2011.
Light treatment clears psoriasis as it boosts vitamin D levels. Naturalnews.com. Web. August 13, 2011.
Reviewed August 15, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger